Starting to feel the sting of these fights now aren’t you? I surely did and Paul Jenkins has subtly added that emotional element to them as we begin to approach the end of this journey.
When considering this type of storytelling, the general consensus is that they are just killing each other. This issue alone has shown why that is not the case and why it never has been. We see how everyone, heroes and villains have lost what made them who they are since they first step foot in the prison. Self-respect, conviction, heart, love, humanity, all things that shape the characters here and these fights have stripped them of this. Meridan carrying the biggest burden you felt for not knowing till recently that unlike everyone else he had no choice whether he lived or died. It was all about that very moment, and Paul executed it well enough that you see how they might lose hope when the strongest man in the room is defeated easily.
When the narration by Omni-Engine’s secret voice is handled so well, it’s something you’ll miss seeing how much depth it added to the atmosphere. He always made everything seem so hopeless, seeing through everyone like glass and saying it like it is. Sometimes you have to be told how to feel, and this voice was blunt enough to do just that.
The suspense is what I believe carries this story. Paul really lays onto the fact that they are aware of the reason they are there, though only when they are actually fighting. Does this and makes sure that we feel that much anxiety to figure out exactly what they did which left them no choice but to be locked into this situation. Up to this point you see the urgency to figure this out increase, and each time they step into the arena, you see that reaction they give you when they realize it if only for that moment. The art captures this and it’s something which made this convincing as an almost impossible scenario.
Again this is one book you should want to pick up if not for the freedoms and liberties Paul Jenkins takes to make this story unique. This plays with the concept of fighting for your life and takes a more seriously approach to it that you find more engaging when the rest have a tendency to rely on humor.